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Course Hero. "Wicked Study Guide." June 1, 2017. Accessed January 19, 2019.


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Wicked | Plot Summary

See Plot Diagram


Book 1

Elphaba is born in Munchkinland during a storm. She enters the world while her mother and the midwives hide inside the Clock of the Time Dragon, a supernatural clockwork puppet show whose performance has turned an angry mob against her father, Frex, and his wife, Melena. Elphaba's parents fear the green-skinned sharp-toothed infant and refuse to touch her until Melena's old Nanny intervenes. Nanny helps Frex and Melena learn to take care of Elphaba, but she is unable to change the baby's color.

Elphaba grows into a sullen and antisocial toddler. When Turtle Heart, a traveling glassblower from the south of Oz, arrives at her family's gate, Elphaba bonds with him immediately, and he makes a looking glass that mesmerizes the child. Melena also bonds with Turtle Heart, and the two begin an affair in the hours before Frex returns from a religious retreat with Nanny in tow. Frex also forms a quick intimacy with the glassblower, who remains with the family through the summer. Nanny enrolls Elphaba in a children's playgroup in a nearby village to help her learn to socialize, but Elphaba's interactions with other children bring mixed results.

As autumn approaches, Turtle Heart has visions of his home, the Quadling Country, besieged by speculators bent on mining the rubies under the swamplands there. He sees many of his people dying and announces his intention to return to help them. Turtle Heart suggests Frex and his family help as well, but Melena announces she is pregnant. On the same night, Elphaba speaks her first word, "horrors," because she can see the Quadlings' sacrifice by the Munchkins in the looking glass. She and Turtle Heart also have a vision of a man arriving in Oz in a hot-air balloon; this signifies the Wizard's arrival in Oz.

Book 2

When Elphaba is 17, she attends university in the northern city of Shiz. The head of her college, Madame Morrible, assigns her to room with Glinda (Galinda), a student from the northern territory of Gillikin, and her minder, Ama Clutch. The appearance-obsessed Glinda—who still goes by her birth name, Galinda, at this point—has a tense relationship with Elphaba at first, but the two women slowly form a close friendship.

At Shiz, Elphaba assists Dr. Dillamond, a sentient Goat researching the origins of all sentient Animals; he hopes to regain and secure the rights the Wizard's policies have taken away from the Animals. Boq, a fellow Munchkinlander who remembers Elphaba from their childhood, befriends Elphaba to get closer to Glinda and helps Elphaba with Dr. Dillamond's research.

When Dr. Dillamond is murdered at the start of Elphaba's second year at Shiz, Elphaba suspects Madame Morrible is responsible. Ama Clutch, the only witness to the murder, slips into dementia, so the murder shakes Glinda as well, prompting her to become a more serious student. To replace Ama Clutch as the women's chaperone, Nanny comes to Shiz with Elphaba's armless sister, Nessarose, in tow. Elphaba expands her circle of friends and becomes more outspoken on the matter of Animal rights. On her deathbed, Ama Clutch confirms Madame Morrible was behind Dr. Dillamond's murder. After Madame Morrible tries to recruit Elphaba, Glinda, and Nessarose into the Wizard's service, Elphaba convinces Glinda to accompany her to the Emerald City to confront the Wizard about Animal rights. The Wizard dismisses Elphaba's concerns, and Elphaba sends Glinda back to Shiz alone.

Book 3

Seven years after leaving Shiz University, Elphaba is part of an underground movement against the Wizard's oppressive regime in the Emerald City. By chance she encounters an old college friend, Fiyero, a prince of the Arjiki tribe in the Vinkus territory to the west. Elphaba tries to keep Fiyero at a distance, but the two fall in love and begin an affair, even though Fiyero has a wife back in his family's mountain fortress at Kiamo Ko. Fiyero is aware of the Wizard's brutal policies and activities, but he objects to some of Elphaba's terrorist methods of resistance. After Elphaba tries but fails to assassinate Madame Morrible at a theater, the Wizard's men raid her home and ambush Fiyero. They beat him severely, and he is never seen again, likely murdered. Elphaba flees to a mauntery—Oz's version of a nunnery—for safety and penance.

Book 4

After seven years in the mauntery, Elphaba rejoins the outside world in the company of a young boy called Liir. Liir is Elphaba's son with Fiyero, but Elphaba does not remember the pregnancy or the child's birth because of a coma-like state and treats him with indifference. The two of them travel through the Vinkus to Kiamo Ko, where Elphaba hopes to meet with Sarima, Fiyero's wife, and beg forgiveness for her role in Fiyero's disappearance and death. Sarima does not allow Elphaba to speak of Fiyero's death, but she does offer Elphaba and Liir a home for the winter.

While in Kiamo Ko, Elphaba tends to her growing menagerie of animals and studies a magical book called the Grimmerie, which she finds hidden in a closet. Sarima's children play with Liir and torment him. Nanny shows up one day in the spring, having tracked Elphaba's location through the mauntery in the Emerald City. She tells Elphaba Nessarose has taken over their family's leadership position in Munchkinland. Kiamo Ko has other visitors that spring: a substantial detachment of the Wizard's troops, who claim to be there to conduct a geological survey.

Despite the presence of the troops, Elphaba visits her sister after learning Munchkinland has seceded from Oz. She finds Nessarose can live independently with the help of a pair of jeweled shoes Frex gave her. Glinda has enchanted the shoes to help Nessarose balance without arms. Nessarose uses her religious devotion to justify her own petty tyranny in Munchkinland, and Elphaba suspects the people may revolt against her. Frex and Nessarose ask Elphaba to return to Munchkinland to assist Nessarose, but Elphaba refuses. Nessarose promises to give Elphaba the enchanted shoes when she dies. When Elphaba gets back to Kiamo Ko, she discovers the soldiers have taken Fiyero's family prisoner, leaving only Nanny and Liir behind.

Book 5

A tornado sweeps through Munchkinland and drops a house on Nessarose, killing her instantly. Inside the house is Dorothy, a farm girl from a distant land. Glinda gives Nessarose's shoes to Dorothy; she wants to get the shoes out of the territory and prevent civil unrest. When Elphaba returns for her sister's funeral and learns what Glinda has done, she is enraged, since Nessarose had promised Elphaba the shoes. After the funeral the Wizard visits Munchkinland to learn of Elphaba's future plans. He tells her his troops killed Fiyero's family members, with the exception of Fiyero's daughter, Nor, who is the Wizard's prisoner. Elphaba tries to bargain for Nor's release, to no avail.

Elphaba pursues Dorothy, fearing the Wizard might get Nessarose's shoes and use them against Munchkinland. However, when she learns Dorothy has reached the Emerald City, she decides not to follow. Instead, Elphaba returns to Shiz to kill Madame Morrible, only to find she has died moments earlier. Elphaba takes credit for murdering her anyway, hoping to anger the Wizard. Before she leaves Shiz, Elphaba encounters the Clock of the Time Dragon, which shows her a performance that strongly hints that the Wizard is Elphaba's biological father.

Elphaba returns to Kiamo Ko and receives word that the Wizard is sending Dorothy to kill her. While she waits, Elphaba imagines one of Dorothy's travel companions, the Scarecrow, is Fiyero in disguise. When the party approaches the fortress, Elphaba realizes this idea is only a fantasy and becomes unhinged. Too late she discovers Dorothy is not there to kill her but to seek forgiveness for accidentally killing Nessarose. This makes Elphaba unravel further, and she accidentally sets herself on fire with her lit broom. Unaware of Elphaba's sensitivity to water, Dorothy douses the flames, killing Elphaba.

Wicked Plot Diagram

123456789101112131415ClimaxResolutionIntroductionRising ActionFalling Action


1 Elphaba is born to a minister and his wife in Munchkinland.

Rising Action

2 Green-skinned Elphaba has problems fitting in.

3 Elphaba begins her studies at Shiz University.

4 Elphaba leaves college after Dr. Dillamond is murdered.

5 Elphaba works against the Wizard for seven years.

6 Elphaba has an affair with Fiyero.

7 Fiyero is killed by the Wizard's secret police.

8 Elphaba lives in a mauntery for seven years.

9 Elphaba lives with Fiyero's family and seeks forgiveness.

10 The Wizard's men capture Fiyero's family.


11 Elphaba begins to practice magic.

Falling Action

12 Nessarose, Elphaba's sister, is killed by Dorothy's house.

13 Elphaba sets out to get Nessarose's shoes from Dorothy.

14 Elphaba learns the Wizard may be her biological father.


15 Dorothy unwittingly kills Elphaba with a pail of water.

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